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Heaviness in My Head

Summary: Jo did not know what was wrong with her. At some point everything just stopped making sense.

Spoilers Through: 5x06—Worst Case Scenario

Prologue

Three Months Ago . . .

Once she was out of the lab, Jo pulled off the gas mask and finally breathed in some sweet, sweet air. After seven hours and five different experimental aerosols, the breach was finally contained. She would probably change her mind tomorrow, but today, Jo was pretty sure genetic engineering entomologists who create pesticide resistant bugs were the worst kind of people in the world.

Jo rubbed her shoulder. Make that pesticide resistant bugs who might be able to penetrate light body armor. As she walked down the hall, she peeled back her shirt from her collarbone and tried to see if she had really been bitten. Not looking where she was going, she ran straight into another person.

She started to apologize, but then she saw that it was Zane. The same Zane who kept telling her they might never see each other again. She understood why, and hell, she liked saying goodbye as much as he did, but she was getting tired of waiting to find out what decision he made. "Seriously, are you leaving or not?"

She had not meant to be that blunt. He looked a little hurt, but he covered it quickly. "I figured I'd already come this far on the whole Astraeus thing, I might as well see how that pans out."

Of course he was staying for that. It was the whole point of the pardon in the first place. "One more round before they make the final decisions."

Zane fell into step with her, going back in the direction from which he came. "Yeah, the worst round, interviews. I've never been good at endearing myself to authority types."

"Well, if you don't make it, . . . " Why was it so hard for her to say? It could just be something simple and non-committal, like, I hope you decide to stay in Eureka anyway. Maybe something about how boring it would be there without him. " . . . at least you'll be free to go wherever you want."

He gave her face a searching look. If he would just tell her what he wanted her to say, she would say it. But she was not going to put herself out there. She was not going to ask him to stay there unless she knew that he wanted to stay. These last few months had been hard enough on her without adding utter humiliation to the list.

His gaze did not actually stop at her face. Even though she was about 95% covered at the moment, his expression grew suggestive. "So are you heading back to your office?"

She felt a mild stinging in her shoulder again. "Actually, I think I need to get checked out by Allison. Maybe I'll see you in my office later."

His face spread into a slow smile. "Yeah, maybe."

When Jo got to the infirmary, two other members of her team, Hadley and Baxendale, were already there. Yeah, genetic engineering entomologists were at the top of her list today.

Author's Note: I tried to make it clear with context clues, but in case it was not clear, this scene takes place between "Clash of the Titans" and "This One Time at Space Camp. . ."